Building People of Substance for Works of Power
I was preparing for a service recently when the Spirit of God spoke up on the inside and said, “My people are suffering from battle fatigue.” My immediate response was, “That’s for sure!” We have all been through quite a lot in the last two years. Many of us have been ill, many have lost friends and family members, and all of us have had our activities drastically altered. Businesses have closed, jobs have been lost, the streets have become less safe, and there is the real threat of war. Yeah, we’re worn out.
Some of the biggest losses have been caused by social isolation. Overwrought responses to the virus had us locked in our homes, wearing masks in public, and avoiding large gatherings of all kinds, including church. Satan knows the vital places to attack. He assaults our free speech because faith comes by hearing. Paul said, “And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? (Rom 10:14)” Similarly, he impedes both our ability and our will to gather as the Body of Christ to keep us from receiving the refreshing God has provided for us. During the battle, He supplies sustenance and renewal when we come together. God wants us strong!
When we gather in His Name, refreshing comes two ways:
- Refreshing from one another. Interacting with people of like precious faith makes an impartation in us. You may think you’re a “loner,” that you don’t need other believers, but that’s a deception from hell. There’s a dynamic energy released when we have communion with one another. Communion means sharing. We share victories, challenges, and fresh insights from God. We share life. Paul asked the Roman church to join him in his prayer struggle that he might be able to visit them: “that I may come to you with joy by the will of God and may be refreshed together with you. (Rom 8:32 NKJV)” If Paul needed it, we need it! (See also 1 Cor 16:17; 2 Cor 7:6-7, 13; 1 Thess 3:6-7; 5:11; Philemon 1:7, 20; etc.)
- Refreshing from the presence of the Lord. There are some things that are true, even if you don’t know them or believe them. One great truth of the Christian faith is that God visits the gathering of His people in a special, tangible way. I love spending time alone in my prayer closet with Him. It’s great! But it can’t substitute for the Presence that comes when He is in the midst of His children. (Heb 2:11-12)
David alluded to the wonder of that Presence: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133:1 NKJV)” He likened it to the oil of anointing used on the High Priest, and then to the refreshing showers that fell on Mt. Hermon and flowed out into the parched deserts below.
We all know the old saying, “God inhabits the praises of His people.” That’s a New Testament take on Psalm 22:3. Jesus went so far as to promise, “For where two or three are together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Mat 18:20 NKJV) There is a special Presence that comes when God’s people gather to worship. That Presence brings joy, refreshing, and peace. It pushes back the mental haze, bringing light to those going through dark passages. It brings a reminder of His love and of our purpose. We need it!
Somebody Said: In the house of God there is never ending festival; the angel choir makes eternal holiday; the presence of God’s face gives joy that never fails.Augustine of Hippo
Scripture Reading: Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the LORD commanded the blessing— Life forevermore.Psalm 133:1-3 NKJV
Here’s the Point: Take responsibility. Don’t let yourself get conned. You need to be in fellowship with other believers. Take the initiative. Go to church, say “hello,” and extend a hand. If you’re a pastor, be sure to find ways for people to connect and share with one another. Before service, after service, in homes, or in activities in the community, they need it!
When the worship leader asks you to join in, sing! Even if you can’t sing, sing! Take part in worship, even if you don’t like the music. (Sometimes I just quietly change the words to eliminate any personal objections, then I sing instead of gripe.) It’s not about you, nor is it really about the music. Lift your hands, lift your voice, and welcome Him to His throne in our midst. It’s about loving God and letting Him love on you. If you’re a pastor, be sure your services provide space for real worship. Not just music, worship. All noise is not worship. Lead by precept and example. Tell them the purpose of worship, then give them a demonstration. When you sense His Presence in the room, don’t get in a hurry to move on. Let people savor and soak. They need it!
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